10 Noncertified IT Skills That Pay a Premium

Certain IT skills are commanding premium pay from employers. The good news is it's all about hands-on experience and expertise.

The economic down turn that began in 2008 prompted many companies to rethink their employee-hiring requirements and practices---which largely involve acquiring employees with unique IT skill-sets. Many of these skills and areas of expertise do not require certifications and are more about experience and IT acumen.

"Just possessing many of these IT skills is not what makes an IT professional valuable," says David Foote, CEO of Foote Partners LLC,"Instead it is how they can demonstrate they actually used them in building solutions."

Job seekers need to demonstrate to employers how having these skills will add value to their business. "The multidimensional factor is huge," says Foote. Knowing where companies are spending their IT staffing budgets can help guide your professional growth and education.

In Computerworld's 2012 annual IT forecast survey, 295 of the 353 IT professionals (or 29 percent) polled said they plan to increase their IT staff, in contrast to last year's 23 percent. How can you tap into this increase in staffing? Whether your goal is to grow professionally, get back to work or just make more money, according to Foote Partners, these skills can help you get there.

Apache and Big Data

Apache development skills gained in demand this year with the push for Big Data, and early adopters are eager to find IT professionals skilled in Apache Hadoop including HBase and Hive, Apache Cassandra and Apache CouchDB. MapReduce framework/programming model and NoSQL open system database systems are also areas that should increase in demand, says Foote.

SAP Development

Just as content has long reigned as king on the web, hands-on experience--rather than certification--is the key for employers looking for SAP developers. Employers are eager to find pros with expertise in SAP HANA (In-Memory Appliance), SAP SEM (Strategic Enterprise Management), SAP ESA (Enterprise Services Architecture), SAP PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), SAP Solution Manager, SAP Retail, SAP SRM (Supplier Relationship Management), SAP CRM, SAP CO-PA (Profitability Analysis), SAP PS (Project Systems), SAP BI and SAP EHS (Environmental Management) .

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Mobile Application Development

With more traditional application development skills lagging behind, a rising interest in mobile applications is great news if you are proficient using HTML5, Java and related technologies to create mobile applications, says Foote. HTML5 technologies also include JavaScript and Cascading Style Sheets 3 (CSS3). Specific Android- and iOS-related skills/experience are also seeing demand.

Database Development

Companies will always have data that needs to be secured, maintained and delivered making database development a skill that continually finds its way into hottest skills categories. Database management expertise is one of the top skills mentioned by CIOs looking for entry-level IT professionals. In particular, hiring managers are looking for experience in Oracle Developer Suite, Oracle database, Informatica, MongoDB, and MySQL/MySQL Cluster.

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Web/e-Commerce Development

The web continues to evolve faster than most can keep up with, but the traditional web development that is the backbone of the Internet are still in demand, as are the enterprise-level skills that continue to bring the web to life in 2012, including Microsoft Commerce Server, Microsoft .Net, EMC Corporation's Documentum (enterprise content management platform), Python, and Sharepoint Server, Oracle Workflow, SOAP, Google App Engine, and, yes, social networking skills.

Management, Process and Methodology

The IT management skills most in demand include business process management, information risk management, business performance management, TOGAF (The Open Group Architecture Framework), project management, quantitative analysis, risk assessment/risk management and change management.

Systems and Networking

With the uptick in virtualization and cloud computing in 2012, employers are looking for those with skills in security (DW/BI, ERP, Web, and project assignments), virtualization, network security management, wireless network management and RFID.

Java SE, EE and ME

"So much Java is underlying so much big data," says Foote Partners CEO, David Foote. Employers are looking for developers who are comfortable working with the Java Standard Edition (SE)--the core Java programming platform that includes all of the standard libraries and APIs, Enterprise Edition (EE)--which includes libraries for database access (JDBC, JPA), messaging (JSM), remote method invocation (RMI), XML processing and web services--and defines standard APIs for Enterprise JavaBeans, servlets, portlets, JavaServer Pages, and Micro Edition (ME), which is used for the creation of mobile applications and apps for embedded systems.

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Infrastructure Architecture

The job of an infrastructure architect is to bring together the requirements and constraints previously determined by an enterprise architect and solutions architect. Environments include virtual computing (VDI and VI), physical computing (client/server), storage, network, backup & recovery, voice, video, management services and mobility.

Information Security

Along with technological advances come potential opportunities for security breaches along with new vulnerabilities. 2012 saw an increase in the complexity, scope and frequency of cyber-attacks, and employers are on the lookout for IT pros with security and auditing skills including risk management, network and cloud/virtualization security, operations security, and mobile device security.

Growing Professionally

True professionals understand that IT skills are one part of the equation, knowing how to combine those skills with business acumen is what will really make employers take notice.

As always we welcome your feedback. What non-certified IT Skills are you seeing a demand for in your company?

Rich Hein covers IT careers for CIO.com. Follow Rich on LinkedIn & Twitter. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, on Facebook, and on Google+.

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